For nearly 35 years, the Department of Emergency Medicine has partnered with Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services to deliver scientifically-based, advanced emergency medical care to the citizens and visitors of Milwaukee County. Currently, approximately 450 paramedics in the Milwaukee County EMS system assess and respond to over 30,000 advanced life support patients and over 70,000 basic life support patients every year. As an EMS fellowship-trained, board-certified emergency physician, the Medical Director's role is to authorize the practice of Milwaukee County EMS paramedics, and to advocate for the patient by ensuring the highest level of care. Working in collaboration with the system's staff and field providers, the Medical Director is involved in all aspects of medical policy and procedures, quality improvement, communications, research, and education. Members of the Section of EMS and Disaster Medicine are appointed as Associate and Assistant Medical Directors for the Milwaukee County EMS system. These emergency physicians also participate in furnishing direct and indirect medical oversight for the system. Together, the medical directors sit on various local, state, and national committees focusing on improving emergency medical care. All Section physicians are dedicated to fostering the Medical College of Wisconsin's tradition of medical excellence and to maintaining Milwaukee County's reputation as one of the top systems in the world.
Milwaukee County EMS website
Milwaukee County Emergency Management
Members of the Section also serve in advisory roles to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services EMS office and state EMS Board. The Medical College of Wisconsin has had a long relationship with Wisconsin EMS being a part of the development of the current structure of an EMS Advisory Board as well as the position of State EMS Medical Director, the first of whom was our esteemed former department chair, Dr. Joseph Darin. Since that time, an EMS faculty member as been engaged with State EMS on some level nearly continuously.
State of Wisconsin EMS Trauma System website
Flight For Life (FFL) is a helicopter air ambulance transport system serving Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. FFL operates three state of the art helicopters exceeding FAA safety recommendations and has been operating since 1984 completing over 30,000 safe patient transports. FFL is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems, an arduous voluntary process demonstrating commitment to quality and safety. Additionally, FFL was honored to receive the Program of the Year 2011 Vision Zero Safety Award, a prestigious industry sponsored award to a program that has demonstrated an overall commitment to safety. Additionally, individual pilots have been awarded the National EMS Pilots Association Pilot of the Year award. The Section of EMS and Disaster Medicine serve as medical director for Flight for Life and crews can receive additional online medical oversight from any emergency department faculty member.
Our dedication to Special Operations works to advance evidence-based medical practice in technically specialized areas of out-of hospital medicine. These include dive rescue, hazardous materials, heavy urban rescue, tactical, and disaster/mass casualty medicine. We provide support both for patients and emergency responders.
Milwaukee Fire Department Special Operations website
Dive rescue is the field of search and rescue operations on and below the surface of waterways. Emergency Medical Services physicians support the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Dive Rescue Team by assisting in development of medical policies and protocols, and by offering an on-scene physician capability when needed.
Hazardous materials are chemical, biological, or radiological substances that have the potential to contaminate and cause harm to people. The field of hazardous materials management seeks to contain, identify, remove, and neutralize such dangerous substances. Medical management of hazardous materials victims is provided by members of the Section of EMS and Disaster Medicine with a close relationship with three board-certified medical toxicologists in our Department. In addition, section physicians provide medical support to protect hazardous materials responders.
Heavy urban rescue involves the rescue of persons trapped in building collapses, confined spaces, or high angle locations. Our section provides medical support to the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Heavy Urban Rescue Team (HURT). Physician support includes review of medical procedures/protocols, as well as on-scene medical care for victims and team members.
Tactical medicine is the field of out-of-hospital medical support for law enforcement and military operations. This unique area of EMS blends emergency medicine, primary care, occupational/preventive medicine, and public health. Several faculty serve as tactical physicians, providing field advice and field medical support for a number of local and federal law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Section provides the Medical Director for the Tactical EMS Program of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Departments.
Within the Section, there is pediatric-specific training and expertise. Members of the section provide pediatric-specific insight to the planning, implementing, and evaluating out-of-hospital medical care. This pediatric specialization is available to Milwaukee County EMS, City of Kenosha Fire Department, City of Milwaukee Fire Department, and Flight for Life. The Section also provides representation to the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services for Children board